Textbook Rental is Growing - Photo by Enokson

Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California started a program in 2008 to encourage textbook rentals at its local campus. Students at Hancock College were thriftier than their peers before the program even began, as they used twice as many used books per student as compared to the national average.

The fall 2011 semester has seen total rentals of nearly 2,400 textbooks from nearly 100 rental offerings. According to this news article, over the life of the program, students at Hancock have saved at least $500,000, and textbook rentals make up about fifteen percent of the textbook business at the school bookstore.

The popularity of textbook rentals is growing across the country as companies like Chegg and TextbookRentals.com expand their offerings and reduce prices. There are dozens of websites now offering textbook rentals which allow students to pay for a textbook for a certain length of time, after which they must return it. With the ease of shipping from USPS, UPS, and FedEx, students are able to cheaply rent books from anywhere in the country.